Frozen Dead Still? Use These 3 Proven Navy Seal Techniques To Stop Fear In Its Tracks
by Jean Paul Cortes
(San Jose, Costa Rica)
It was just before dawn, she could feel the morning's chill biting her skin, reminding her of where she was and what she was about to do.
She stood up there, looking into the abyss. Barely able to see the bottom, the place where she had planned to land. It was her first jump, ever.
There was a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, she could feel it grumbling, somehow growing in intensity, she started to worry that it might take over her at any time. She recognized it instantly, it was fear. It was staring her in the eyes.
She had been preparing for this moment for quite some time now. And yet, standing at the ledge of this cliff, getting ready to take that leap of faith was making her think twice. She looked around, closed her eyes, stood still with her entire being and listened, just listened.
Out of somewhere she could hear a faint sound, almost like a voice, in fact it was a voice that could barely be heard but seemed to be getting stronger as she listened more intently. She inhaled deeply through her nose, held her breath for a few seconds and breathed out once again. This seemed to somehow amplify the voice she was hearing.
And as she continued to breathe and listen to this voice, she could also feel a calming influence begin to take hold. Almost as if with each breath, her entire body seemed to come to a sense of calm attention.
Suddenly, she found herself visualizing how she was packing her parachute. Every step in order, each fold perfectly done, everything neatly packed so that nothing could get in the way of the perfect jump.
She ran through the sequence of events in her head up until that point, standing there on top of the cliff ready to jump. It was at that moment, that she realized that the little voice that she had heard before was her own voice.
She could hear it clearly now. It was encouraging her to go on. It was assuring her that everything she had done, had prepared her for that day, that moment, right now.
She opened her eyes, the Sun's light now covered her entire body and she could feel its warmth filling her with energy. She could see clearly now, all the way to where she wanted to land.
She felt the energy well up in her legs first, like a shock of electricity that then pushed her body forward. Taking the first step, gathering some speed and then, in an instant, flying through the air.
As she was speeding down the cliff side, she could almost feel time moving very slowly, as if everything she had seen in her mind's eye seconds before, came into view.
When she landed she looked up above, to the place she had just jumped from. It took a minute or so for her to take it all in and come back. It was then that a sense of happiness took over, she knew she had looked fear in the eyes and stared it down once again.
Breakdown of the three secret Navy SEALs techniques
How do you overcome the fear of jumping off a cliff? Granted, most people are probably not bold, or crazy enough to leap off the side of a cliff with a parachute strapped to their backs as the only safety mechanism keeping them from a horrible death. But then, how many times has fear gotten the better of us?
There's a small group of military elite that can teach us a lot about conquering our fears. I'm not encouraging you to go on and jump off a mountain, or hold your breath underwater while you're tied and someone else is trying to drown you, but at least knowing some ways of conquering fear could come in handy, couldn't they?
Let's look at some techniques that our daredevil parachuter used to overcome her fear.
Technique number one: Breathe in; Breathe out...
This secret has been known for thousands of years, handed down from generation to generation by meditation and martial arts masters throughout the ages. There is something about focusing on your breathing, that calms your mind and allows it to enter a relaxed state of awareness.
If you consciously place your attention on your breathing and manage to keep it there for some time, you'll start to notice several things start to happen, your heart rate might decrease, your anxiety levels start to come down, things might start coming into view as you focus away from fear.
When you center your attention on breathing, there is no room to focus on anything else and therefore the likelihood of other non positive emotions taking over decreases.
Technique number two: Playing it out in your mind first
How do you become a master at something? The answer is obvious: you practice until you become better at it than anyone else.
Notice that I'm not denying the existence of talent, what I'm saying is that much of what we call “mastery” comes after years and years of consistent practice. Some have argued it takes over 10,000 hours worth of practice to become a master at something.
Before the idea of spending hours practicing something makes you think of not starting now, there's really no need to worry about it. What would it be like if you could practice right in the confines of your own head? As it turns out, you can.
Researchers have learned that we don't necessarily need the physical aspect of practice to receive its benefits. They've discovered that we can improve our performance by “practicing” something beforehand solely in our mind.
How does this work? In a study conducted by Dr. Blaslotto at the University of Chicago, he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many basketball free throws they could make.
He then had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making free throws and the third group did nothing. After 30 days, he tested them again, what he found was startling:
The first group improved by 24%.
The second group improved by 23% without ever even touching a basketball!
The third group did not improve, which wasn't unexpected.
Elite athletes and their coaches know the importance of going first in your mind, of putting yourself mentally in the same situation as if you were in the competition. They also know that the more realistic you make your experience and the more elements you can go through in your mind, makes the likelihood of a better performance increase exponentially.
It's almost as if you're training your mind to expect the unexpected, so that when the unexpected does come up, as it does in actual competition, you're ready for it and you respond with the best course of action.
Technique number three: The voice that helps you move on
“I can go on a good way though, and I will.” “Where to?” “To the mountain, of course...” “It's all quite useless. He said so himself. You are the fool, going on hoping and flailing. You could have lain down and gone to sleep together days ago, if you hadn't been so dogged. But you'll die just the same, or worse. You might just as well lie down now and give it up. You'll never get to the top anyway.”
“I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,” said Sam. “And I'll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart. So stop arguing!”
Sam's ordeal was great, to help Mr. Frodo get to Mount Doom and destroy the ring forever. At times it must have felt like all was lost, but just when it seemed all save hope was gone, they somehow found a little voice that kept on pushing them ever forward.
Sometimes all we have is our internal drive to keep on going, it's that inner survival system that doesn't let us quit, that spurs us to take the next step. It's a very powerful voice indeed and it can help you through the toughest predicaments.
You now have three techniques to help you overcome any fear: conscious breathing, going first in your mind and the internal voice that motivates. Remember, it's consistent practice that makes a difference and allows you to stop fear dead in its tracks. And while you may still feel fear, you'll be able to overcome it from here forward.
I'll see you at the bottom...
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